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LaSalle to target distress in Asia(2)

The private equity real estate arm of Jones Lang LaSalle is reportedly eyeing property bargains in Japan, China and Australia, after raising $3bn for its latest fund. People familiar with the matter told PERE, the fund has 80% capital left to invest.

LaSalle Investment Management is targeting distressed sellers in Asia as it looks to invest its latest $3 billion real estate opportunity fund.

David Edwards, Asia-Pacific director for LaSalle, said in an interview with Reuters, the Chicago-based firm was hoping to acquire properties at a discount from landlords who over-leveraged themselves and were now being squeezed by a lack of credit.

“In about five years’ time, people will look back on 2008 and 2009 and think, ‘Gee, that was a buying opportunity. Why didn’t I do more?’,” Edwards said. LaSalle, he added, was looking to Japan, China and Australia in a bid to capitalise on the distress being seen in Asia.

People familiar with the matter told PERE, that LaSalle had 80 percent dry powder remaining from the $3 billion fund to invest in “distressed” situations. Edwards added during the interview that the “negotiating power” of private equity was much stronger following the turmoil in the credit markets. “Maybe therefore the price of entry is much less expensive than it was 12 months ago.”

LaSalle closed its Asia fund in August, at the time saying it was seeing “a lot of opportunity in Japan” as well as Korea, China and elsewhere in Asia Pacific.

Edwards went on to say that Asia was also attracting interest from real estate investors looking for core properties, as well as opportunistic investments. “I think there’s a shift in perception among investors,” he told Reuters. “They still want some opportunistic investing in Asia but they want balance and to get some core as well, as they would in Europe or the US.”